Departures Leave Holes in Leadership Group

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There may not have been much on offer on the playing front for the past couple of months, but at least we still have the endless rumour mill of the summer transfer window to keep us entertained before hostilities renew on the 11th of August.

As ever, the list of done deals and rumours occupies the minds of fans and punters pondering questions such as how to hedge your bets ahead of the looming 2023/24 campaign.

The 2023 summer transfer has been as busy as anticipated, with rarely a day passing by without another confirmed deal or a raft of intriguing rumours hitting the headlines. Those consulting the latest Liverpool news have been provided plenty of food for thought, with the Reds already heavily involved – both in terms of incoming and outgoing players.

The captures of Brighton’s World Cup-winning midfielder Alexis Mac Allister and the hugely gifted Dominik Szoboszlai from RB Leipzig have rightly whetted the appetite of the Anfield faithful, but there have also been a number of significant departures. All told, 15 players have either left the club permanently or on loan this summer – a number which will extend to 17 should the transfers of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho to the Saudi Pro League go through as expected.

In truth, many fans agree with the majority of outgoings. Loan moves for the likes of Fabio Carvalho, Harvey Davies and Rhys Williams seem smart at this stage of their development, whilst the transfers of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho are also perfectly understandable considering the midfield overhaul at the club – and the huge payday for both players. The departure of Henderson does, however, mean that Liverpool are now seeking a new captain. With vice-captain, James Milner having also left for Brighton, the leadership structure at the club may look significantly different in 2023/24.

Van Dijk the Obvious Choice for the Armband

Thankfully for Liverpool, the Reds have a man ready, willing, and able to take on the responsibility of the captain’s armband in the shape of defensive colossus Virgil van Dijk. Heading into his seventh season at the club – and having regularly taken on the on-field captaincy in the absence of Henderson in the past – it would be a surprise if van Dijk were not named the club captain almost as soon as Henderson’s transfer is confirmed. A composed and reassuring presence both on and off the field, and the current captain of the Dutch national side, the 32-year-old is expected to slip seamlessly into the role.

Vice-Captaincy is not so Clear Cut

Whilst van Dijk seems a certainty for the captaincy, predicting who will serve as his trusty lieutenant isn’t so straightforward. Nevertheless, the following quartet seem more likely than most to step up to the plate:

Alisson: Arriving one year after van Dijk, Alisson is both immovable in the side and a hugely popular figure in the dressing room. When the players were asked to vote on who should sit behind Henderson and Milner in the pecking order, it was the Brazilian number one who came out on top.

Mo Salah: Should Klopp opt to distribute some of that leadership responsibility further up the pitch, Salah would look the obvious choice. Whilst falling into the “lead by example” category, rather than being a vocal organiser, he would nevertheless likely be a respected choice with players and fans.

Trent Alexander-Arnold: There are few better sights in football than seeing a local lad captain his boyhood club. It may still be a little early for Trent to take on the role of full captaincy, but he would look a good fit for the vice-captaincy job, particularly considering his improved form over the back end of last season.

Andrew Robertson: Of course, Virgil van Dijk isn’t the only member of the squad who captains their national side, with Andrew Robertson being the current Scotland skipper. Already a member of the club’s senior leadership group, in many ways the passionate and vocal left-back is the very definition of what you would expect from a captain.

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